Is Per Diem Work Right for You?

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Per diem work provides a variety of pros and cons. Could your schedule use a change?

Per diem work provides a variety of pros and cons. Could your schedule use a change?

Have you ever considered working per diem? Many medical professionals work per diem to pick up some extra money in addition to their full time positions, but others choose to only work per diem shifts without having a full time job.

The Benefits of Per Diem Work

Per diem work pays a lot better than full-time or part-time work because the pay is used as an incentive to fill staff-to-patient ratios that aren’t being met, and the shifts may need to be filled at the last minute. You can work in a variety of settings – you can work in a psychiatric setting like I worked in one day, and the next day be in the ICU.  You can discover which services and facilities you like the best, and take only the work you want. You choose your own schedule by accepting the shifts you like – no mandatory overtime.

Photo via Public Domain.

The Downside of Per Diem Work

Although you have a lot of flexibility when you work per diem, you don’t have a lot of stability. It may be harder to find per diem work in some specialties more than others.  (Nurses will probably have an easier time finding per diem work in their area than speech language pathologists or occupational therapists simply due to the fact that medical facilities employ more of them.)  Most per diem health professionals receive no benefits like health insurance or vacation time because they are not affiliated with any particular hospital or institution.  We all know how expensive health insurance can be, and even more so when you don’t have an employer helping to pay the cost. Without sick time or vacation time, you don’t get paid unless you work, so you need to keep your finances in order in case of emergencies.

Solutions

There is a way to get the best of both worlds. You can enjoy all the flexibility of per diem work without sacrificing the benefits of a full-time job if you work with a staffing agency.

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19 comments on “Is Per Diem Work Right for You?”

  1. I have worked per diem as an RN for the last 2 years and I have found the hours more flexible. I’m a single mom so I need to be able to work around my children’s schedule. I tried part-time work, but I had to work a set schedule. With per diem, I kind of create my own schedule and pick up shifts when I’m free. I have only taken per diem jobs through a local staffing firm, so I’m not sure what it’s like to work directly for a hospital….not sure if a hospital would be as open about the shift work and schedule as the staffing company.

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  2. Thanks for your comments Henrietta and Mapia.

    Mapia,
    We do not have a minimum or maximum number of hours you must work. You can work as little as one shift, one day or one week at a time. The benefit of per diem is that you can set your own hours and pick up extra shifts when you want them.

    Let us know if you have any other questions!

    4+

  3. When a CNA works directly for a residential facility as per diem, doesn’t this just mean part time?

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  4. Hi Cat – No, per diem work is different than part-time. As a per diem CNA with Soliant, you can work as little as one shift, one day or one week at a time. You can take one shift at one residential facility and then move on to another one. Per diem allows you to create a schedule on your terms – you are under no obligation to work a set schedule.

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  5. If I worked per diem when an employer needs me to come in, do I have the option of saying I can’t come in that day. I have a disability that requires me to have a lot of sick days and I’m trying to find a way to work and still have the sick days I need. Someone mentioned working per diem but I’m not sure if its for me or not.

    1+

  6. If I worked per diem when an employer needs me to come in, do I have the option of saying I can’t come in that day. I have a disability that requires me to have a lot of sick days and I’m trying to find a way to work and still have the sick days I need. Someone mentioned working per diem but I’m not sure if its for me or not.

    .

    13+

  7. Can someone tell me.

    I have been working per diem, full-time, for a hospital for almost six months now. Someone told me that if you work forty hours a week for more than two months the company has to offer a full time position. Is this true?

    14+

  8. I got offered a Job as a system analyst / IT for supporting multiple modalities.
    Its going to be Per Diem, but directly with the Hospital (no staffing agency)
    I was wondering if any body came across that as the Per diem jobs I am seeing are mainly in nursing.
    They said no hours are guaranteed.
    I am just afraid of taking that position and ending up with minimal hours!

    Thanks in advance

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  9. Do NOT work per diem if you can help it and are looking for a steady position. You are temporary and they will expect top drawer work from you, but view you as disposable.

    At least this is my experience. I was shocked at how little respect the clinic I worked for had for me after I worked 40 hours a week, nonstop for months when they had a full time position available.

    2+

  10. I work as a per diem Hospice nurse. At the previous company I worked for, I could refuse jobs if they were too far to travel, or if I felt unsafe, or I just couldn’t make it. Now, at my new hospice company, my boss does not allow me to say no to an assignment, AND she wants to know my schedule on a weekly basis of what I am doing each day, so she can call me in even on days I am not scheduled to be on call. This means that I am literally on call 24/7. Is this legal?
    Thank you, Kimberly RN, BSN

    25+

  11. I would like to know how does per diem work for me I’m a truck driver I travel different states 25 plus days a month how can I use this

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  12. This is really fascinating, You are an overly skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and stay up for searching for extra of your fantastic post. Additionally, I’ve shared your site in my social networks

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  13. I need to work 20 hours per week with a staffing company. I have a BSN, PHN and would like to pick up some hours in the High Dessert area of Victorville, Hesperia, or Apple Valley, CA

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  14. I got a job in Pennsylvania I work per diem and can’t believe because I’m per diem I get paid less than if I worked part time or full time. No benefits I’ve never ever seen this ever

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  15. Traditionally what we’ve found is that the nurses that work for us REALLY enjoy the schedule flexibility. That seems to be the resounding overall benefit. We’ve seen that while our RN’s get a bump in pay, they really value the social life aspect.

    Really hot with millennials.

    They really enjoy getting to choose when they work and when they get to hang out with their friends.

    We started our business about a year ago, and have developed an app that lets nurses get hired for per diem shifts in seconds. All the hospital has to do is send out a push notification on their phones, and then they can choose to accept or decline that shift. So far everyone loves it!

    Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this – anyone that has commented before and people who will comment after me!

    Thanks everyone,

    Wes – Co-founder of

  16. Ok I work at a hospital in the kitchen. I was hired per diem with the “assurance” of a full time position. That was a year ago. I’ve covered every shift worked every holiday and been scheduled 40 a week for the most part. I don’t fill out a time availability sheet the schedule just comes out. I’m basically a full time employee,just no benefits. If I wanted to take time off like say for the forth of July and that time is blacked out can I just say I’m not available that day.

    3+

  17. I was hired reluctantly to a large well know problem Sterile Processing dept in my area. Only because my Agent was able to hire me “Per Diem” as little or as much hours as I wanted. They have a difficult time keeping staff, and story’s get around. So I only agreed to give them 3 days a week. My Agent came back and said yes that’s fine.

    Come to find out the Dept. as a whole expected me full-time 5 days a week. I told them that’s not correct. But since it took me so long to finally get to do some payed hours. I regretfully now garenteed them 2 full weeks before deciding on anything. Talking to my Agent kept on reassuring me that it was fine that it would be three days just keep him updated.

    By the end of my 4th day I was sure this was not the place nor the environment I wanted to subject my solo too. Called in Friday and spoke to a rep for my Agent that told me I would be penalized. With that I said fine cancel me the rest of the week, and I’m done. She then said since I said two weeks that I would be blacklisted from all ” ” facility.

    Dammit! I went back the fallowing work week where the scheduler asked me if they called me? I asked for what? My agent called and asked if I was working tonight which I said yes. But then he never answered me as to why.

    End of my shift that night with the Dept Manager very upset at me rudely taking my badge and calling security to escort me out. She then basically pieced together for me detective style how I didn’t want to work there. Which I agreed with her from the call off to the wanting 3 days only.

    Words of advice: Don’t agree to guarantee days or hours if “Per Diem” until you find out what their definition and rules are of “Per Diem”. The agent knew 3 days the facility knew 3 days. My big mouth said two weeks of 5 days and that’s what bit me in the butt!

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